If Your Spouse Is Autistic, You Might Be Autistic, Too
So your spouse or partner is autistic? You could be part of the large population of undiagnosed autistic individuals and not even know it.
If your spouse is autistic, chances are you are also on the spectrum or have another neurodiverse difference, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder.
According to a large Swedish study, which looked at over 707,000 individuals, those on the autism spectrum are 10–11 times more likely to choose romantic partners who are also autistic.
These findings were not found in control populations. Some control populations included individuals with Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and these individuals did not choose partners with the same or similar conditions.
You may not have been aware of the possibility of being autistic yourself, especially if your spouse was diagnosed at an early age, has more obvious or “stereotypical” autistic features that you do not see in yourself, or if you have developed the tendency to “mask” or “camouflage” your own autistic traits — something that many autistic people do unconsciously as a way to fit in and be socially accepted.
Autistic women in particular go undiagnosed more often and for longer periods of time than autistic men, since findings about the female autism phenotype have yet to reach all medical and mental health professionals. Women and girls with more male-typical autism characteristics tend to be diagnosed sooner. Sadly, only a minority of medical and mental health professionals are well-informed enough about the female autism phenotype to be able to detect less typical autism presentations in women and girls. This can lead to a life of confusion, a string of misdiagnoses (often borderline personality disorder, anxiety, and/or depression), and one frustratingly ineffective psychological or pharmacological intervention after another.
According to the International Society for Autism Research, this may be changing:
“There is a burgeoning interest amongst researchers, clinicians, and members of the autism…